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Welcome to a ragbag of draws, queen sacrifices and interesting endgames, with a lot of theory thrown in as well.

Download PGN of May '05 French games

Tarrasch 3.Nd2 Nc6

A neglected source of Elo points.

Black is outrated by an average of 131 Elo points in this month's two Guimard games, but scores 1.5/2. So why not give it a go?

In the variation 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.Bd3 we have so far looked at 6...Nb4 7.Be2 c5 8.c3 Nc6 9.0-0 as in the game Potkin-Vysochin

Philosophically speaking, I find it rather distasteful that Black has gone to the trouble of 3...Nc6 only to end up after all in a Ngf3 'Universal System versus Tarrasch' type of position. Of course, in chess minor differences make all the difference, and the fact that the white bishop is on e2 rather than d3 must be significant. Someday I'll work out how it affects things; for now I'll just point out that White has followed up with Re1 and Bd3 here, just building up, and has achieved pretty good results.

I'd prefer to avoid the issue altogether with the natural alternative 6...f6:

The first thing we need to look at is 7.Ng5!? as if this is good the line has to be rejected. Fortunately, the evidence suggests that White is in at least as much danger as Black. Check out Ristic - Elbilia.

Next we should consider 7.exf6, which is the more solid response. After 7...Qxf6 play is somewhat akin to the Qxf6 variation of the 3...Nf6 Tarrasch: 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Qxf6. Black equalises effortlessly in Rasik - Cernousek.

Tarrasch: 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nfd7 6.c3

The Universal System Strikes Again

White's policy of 'Ngf3 against everything in the Tarrasch' continues to work wonders. Whoever finds an antidote for Black deserves to have a statue in Paris. Perhaps there is something about the open, gambit type positions that arise that is unappealing to French players. The Armenian GM Akobian managed to hold Smirin to a draw as Black in a game given earlier on ChessPub, but in the latest encounter between the same players it was the usual catastrophe for Black. Here is Smirin - Akobian.

Tarrasch 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3

Where should the black rook go?

A critical position is reached after 5...c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Bd6 11.0-0 Qc7 12.Bg5 0-0 13.Bh4 Nh5 14.Qc2 h6 15.Bg6 Rxf3 16.Bxh5

With his last move White has sidestepped the very sharp 16.gxf3 Bxh2+ and hopes for a quiet positional plus after 16...Rf8 17.Bg3, as seen in a couple of games on ChessPub. However, much more in the spirit of Black's opening play is 17...Bxh2+ when after 17.Kh1 Black has to decide where to retreat his rook. In the first example Black chose f8- I've tried to refute it in the analysis but it seems promising in Kotronias - Williams.

The next game features the alternative 17...Rf5. Black is compelled to make an exchange sacrifice but he gets good compensation in Andreikin - Kosyrev.

Finally, we need to consider the similar line 5...c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.Nf3 Qc7 11.0-0 Bd6 12.Bg5 0-0 13.Bh4 Nh5 14.Qc2 h6 15.Bh7+ Kh8 16.Bg6 Rxf3 17.Bxh5 Bxh2+ 18.Kh1:

The question again is whether Black should play 18...Rf5 or 18...Rf8. Only one of these moves works, and it isn't obvious. Incidentally, this game also features an instructive endgame. Check out Delgado - Rodriguez.

Tarrasch 3.Nd2 c5 4. exd5 exd5 5.Ngf3 Nc6

Mankind's champion

I must say I'm excited about the computer match between Hydra and Adams that begins on the day I'm writing this. I think Michael Adams is a good choice to be humanity's champion: his calm positional style often succeeds in making top Grandmasters look very ordinary.

Here for example Adams beats Yusupov in typical style: indeed, why should he bother with Ngf3 gambit lines when he can win in 32 moves with simple moves?

After a placid opening, Black suddenly finds himself under long term pressure, and then cracks under the pressure. And that's all it takes. Enjoy Adams - Jussupow.

Classical 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Ng8

Tigran Petrosian's knight retreat

Jose Blades describes a match he played on

«In round 5 of our team tourney and with his team needing only a draw to secure victory in the round, Black plays an unorthodox idea in the Classical: 1. d4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Ng8 with the idea of 5. f4 Nh6
5.f4 is exactly what White played here and Black was happy to play his idea. But Black was not happy when after the pawn offered later by White in an effort to set some problems for Black to solve and to gain some positional pressure on the board. Judging by how the game turned out, the pawn was very hard to digest. I dont know if you have seen these two ideas played before: First the Ng8 idea and second, White's idea of g4. Black defended really well, it was a super effort but in the endgame he slipped and then it was over.
The link for the game is »

Thanks Jose. I've written some notes to the game, including an excerpt from the great World Champion Tigran Petrosian, who played 4...Ng8 more than once. Here is Bladez2-Alefzero.

Winawer 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 f5

Here we analyse two lines for Black after 9.exf6 Rxf6 10.Bg5 Rf7 11.Qh5 g6 12.Qd1:

An improvement for Black on move 21

In the 12...Qa5 line, Black appeared to be in trouble after the unfortunate Lutz-Pelletier encounter given on ChessPub. However, since then two 2600 players- Smirnov and Cheparinov, the new Bulgarian star-have failed to take home the full point as White. We are deep in 'Play the French 3' territory so you might like to look closely at Cheparinov - Dochev.

A beautiful endgame

In the second game, Black plays 12...c4 and aims to put his queen on g7. This is a solid option, though there is the danger of the game becoming bogged down in a positional draw in the early middlegame. However, as well as detailed analysis there is a very pretty endgame in the game Geller - Kosyrev.

Winawer 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 Nbc6

A disputed variation

«I´ve been looking at Sulypa-Apicella, played in 2004 in light of discussions here. I have come to the conclution that both 22.Qf1 and 22.O-O-O could run into serious trouble with blacks 22...b4! and as far as I have seen (with correct play) white can at most get a draw. If you care for the analysis it is welcome to you for the asking. I do agree with the notion that the position is utterly complicated and still tehre are a lot of pitfalls especially for Black as his K´s position is very shaky to say the least but the counterthrust 22...b4 direct allows him the luxury of creating quite a lot of threats.
Anyhow Thanks for the interesting amonition to an afternoon of "deep probe" into the essense of chess.
Jon Sveinsson»

Thanks Jon- it's always nice to receive feedback. One of the good things about the website compared to a chess book is that nothing is set in stone. Things can be added or changed very easily, and I don't just mean by the author- as a subscriber you can download games and play around with the analysis as you please.

Jon is referring to the game Sulypa-Apicella.

Of course I would be delighted to see your analysis. For now I'll play Devil's Advocate and say that 22.Qf1 b4- rather than the immediate 22...Ne7-strikes me as risky for Black after an admittedly very quick analysis. Here's what I looked at in More analysis to Sulypa-Apicella.

It's over to your Jon! [and that analysis on 22.0-0-0 b4 would also be appreciated :]

Is Yusupov's idea not good enough?

Also in this variation, last month we looked at 1.e4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 Bb4 4.e5 Ne7 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.Qg4 0-0 8.Bd3 Nbc6 9.Qh5 Ng6 10.Nf3 Qc7 11.Be3 c4 12.Bxg6 fxg6 13.Qg4 Qe7!?:

Franck Steekbekkers has kindly sent me the 'missing' game in this line- Pelletier - Jussupov, Basel Eur.Ch..rapid 01.2005. This game should be analysed in conjunction with Kritz-Jussupow

Unfortunately I don't think 13...Qe7 works, despite a nice win by Yusupov [Jussupow? Jussupov? You take your pick!] I think Pelletier missed a very strong continuation later in the game, and there is also the question of the improvement at move 16 suggested last month on ChessPub. You can check things out in Pelletier - Jussupow.

I haven't had the chance to reply to all the emails yet- my thanks to Bill Conrad and Christian for their patience. Meanwhile you can find an email from Michael Roza and one from Christian in the .

Well that's all for now. I hope you enjoyed the games as much as I did some were very exciting. Good luck with your chess!

Best Regards, Neil